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Teachers Learn Latest Techniques in New 'Model Classroom' at Rockland Campus

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Hudson Graduate Center at Rockland,
Long Island University

ergonomic chairs, carefully selected colors and teaching materials proven effective by researchOrangeburg, N.Y. - Chalkboards and erasers are so over. Classrooms of the 21st century will have computerized overhead projectors, Wi-Fi laptops, ergonomic chairs, carefully selected colors and teaching materials proven effective by research.

Teachers of tomorrow - and today - will learn how to put these tools to work in a new model classroom at the Rockland Graduate Campus of Long Island University. Funded by a $40,000 grant from New York State, the Theresa Morahan Simmons Model Classroom of the 21st Century will be available to school teachers in the lower Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey, as well as students in the Rockland Campus' master's degree programs in education.

“It gives teachers a way to put theory into practice,” said Elaine Geller, director of the Special Education and Literacy programs at the Rockland Graduate Campus. “This really is an incubator where new teachers can learn to use modern educational tools, and current teachers can get the professional development they need.”

The model classroom will be formally opened Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2006 at 5 p.m. in conjunction with American Education Week (Nov. 12-18.) It is believed to be the only one of its kind in the New York metropolitan area.

The classroom is named for Theresa Simmons Morahan, a first-grade teacher at Richard P. Connor Elementary School in Suffern, N.Y. who died at age 28 in May 2004. Her father, state Sen. Thomas Morahan, facilitated the New York State grant that funded the classroom.

The furnishings, teaching materials and equipment in the model classroom were selected based on research into the most effective teaching methods. They were chosen by a committee comprised of faculty members of the Rockland Graduate Campus, most of whom are also full-time school teachers and administrators, as well as local educators not connected with the University.

“The chairs and walls are pastel instead of primary colors because the research shows pastels are more conducive to learning,” said Nancy T. Goldman, Ed.D., director of the Rockland Graduate Campus Curriculum and Instruction program.

The furniture is organized into centers to allow movement so that students can “learn from each other” in groups - another technique endorsed by research. The flexible arrangement also eliminates the need for one subject to monopolize the room: One group can study science, another math and still another reading, all at the same time.

Wi-Fi laptopsThe Sympodium overhead projector has an Internet connection and can save notes shown on the screen at the front of the classroom as a Microsoft Word file. Wi-Fi enabled laptop computers are available for students' use. The front of the room is dominated by a floor-to-ceiling map of the world. The space is brightened by three large skylights. “Research demonstrates that children learn best in natural light,” Goldman said. The classroom is filled with the latest materials in teaching math, reading and science to elementary school-age children.

The Rockland Graduate Campus of Long Island University offers master's degrees and advanced certificates in education, counseling and development, business, health administration and pharmaceutics to approximately 500 students. Evening and weekend classes allow students to balance work and family responsibilities with their studies. For more information on the Rockland Graduate Campus of Long Island University, call (845) 359-7200 or visit www.liu.edu/rockland.

Posted 10/26/2006

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